Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has passed a bill into law banning all gender reassignment procedures for minors in the state, including irreversible gender transition surgeries and hormone therapies. The law is quickly becoming the norm in the United States, with 16 states now having enacted similar laws.
The law, Senate Bill 613, makes it a felony for healthcare workers to provide children under 18 with gender surgery, puberty-blocking drugs, or hormone doses that suppress or delay normal puberty. It also bans the use of any medications or surgical procedures for the purpose of gender transition. Those who violate the law can face revocation of their medical license or civil actions from a parent or guardian.
Governor Stitt called for a statewide ban on such procedures last year and has now fulfilled his promise.
“We cannot turn a blind eye to what’s happening across our nation, and as governor, I am proud to stand up for what’s right and ban life-altering transition surgeries on children in the state of Oklahoma,” said Stitt.
Similar bans have been enacted in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, South Dakota and West Virginia. Some of these laws have been blocked due to ongoing litigation.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma and other civil liberty organizations have promised to take any necessary legal action to prevent the Oklahoma law from being enacted.
The Republican-led states have argued that children under 18 are not old enough to think through the consequences of potentially life-altering decisions and should be protected from such procedures. Meanwhile, Democratic-led states have argued that the decision should be left to the child with or without their parent or guardians’ support.
Nearly two dozen states are considering or debating bills this year to restrict or ban sex reassignment procedures. Additionally, Florida, Missouri and Texas have banned or restricted medical procedures to change a person’s sex via regulations or administrative orders.
The debate surrounding this law is sure to continue as more states consider similar measures. For now, Oklahoma has passed a law prohibiting gender reassignment procedures for minors.